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‘I spent nine months in the same cell my father was murdered’

  • Published at 08:09 am November 3rd, 2017
‘I spent nine months in the same cell my father was murdered’
Politics has always been in the blood of Mohammed Nasim, the son of national leader and former prime minister M Mansur Ali who was also one of the organisers of the Liberation War. Nasim joined protests against the then Pakistani government’s policy during his matriculation examination. The father-son duo was arrested and thrown behind bars. “I was arrested with my father in 1966 by the Pakistani government. We were incarcerated in the same cell in Pabna jail and had to stay there for about a year,” Health Minister Nasim, who was a Bangladesh Chhatra League leader at that time, recalled. He successfully passed matriculation from jail and sought admission to Pabna’s Edward college but was denied as he was a prisoner. Nasim went on to study political science at Jagannath College. He visited Pabna regularly for political reasons. During one such visit in 1968, he was stabbed by the Nakshals. “Doctors asked my father to shift me to Dhaka for better treatment. When Bangabandhu heard about it, he sent two air tickets for us and told my father to follow the doctors’ advice. He also visited me in the hospital,” Nasim recalled. He said Bangabandhu visited their house after becoming the president. “He loved me like his son.” Nasim was the general secretary of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League’s Pabna unit and presidium member of National Youth League in 1975 when Bangabandhu and most of his family members were assassinated. He went into hiding and tried to coordinate political movement from there. Nasim’s father and the other three national leaders were arrested by the military government in late August that year after they had refused to join Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed’s cabinet. After the four leaders were killed in jail on November 3, 1975, Nasim fled to India and stayed there for about four years. After his return, he was arrested from Paltan in April 1980. Incidentally, he was put in the same cell where his father had been murdered. “I was in that cell for nine months. In those days, I could feel my father’s breath in there,” he said. “My greatest regret is that I could not see my father’s face after he was killed.” Even though the jail killing trial ended in 2013, several killers are still absconding. Nasim hoped that other countries would help Bangladesh bring back the killers. Nasim was born on April 2, 1948 in Sirajganj to Mansur Ali and Amena Mansur. The five-time parliamentarian is a Presidium Member of the ruling Awami League and serves as the ‘spokesperson’ of the 14-party grand alliance. He has helmed the Ministries of Home Affairs, Housing and Public Works, and Posts and Telecommunication. He is married to Laila Arjumand. The couple has three sons.